Kenya’s Security Dilemma (26 Sep 13)

After the recent tragedy at Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi, Kenya faces some difficult choices to make.  Kenya knows that the Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, was behind the heinous crimes, perpetrated in the safety of that suburban mall.

In Kenya, most people relate more closely with their tribal affiliations then with their religious ones (a major source of strife historically within Kenya dating back to before British Colonial times), but with 11.2 % of Kenya’s population being Muslim (that being said, Islam has not been a major force in most of the tribal disputes in Kenyan history) there is a significant possibility of problems with religious disputes.  A much more significant possibility is the risk of having 500,000 Somali refugees within Kenya’s borders, both for the refugees, and the threat that, that many people harbor (perhaps even unknowingly or unwillingly) Al-Shabaab terrorists.  The regional rivalry between Somalia and Kenya dates back to at least the Sifta War (of 1963-67), and has including some severe nastiness, and this figures to continue, with this latest atrocity.

Kenya’s possible reactions to the Westgate Mall tragedy include the following:

1) Make anti-terror statements, but in practice ignore it.  While this is the ‘safest’ choice politically (at least on the global scale) it will be deeply unpopular with the Kenyan people and be viewed by Al-Shabaab terrorists as a great victory, and entice them to conduct more terror attacks inside Kenya.


2)  Ramp up anti-Al-Shabaab activities both in Kenya and support the FGS (Federal Government of Somalia) in Somalia.  This option has little risk to it internationally, will garner support at home in Kenya, and put pressure on Al-Shabaab, although it is also likely to incite more terror attacks in Kenya.


3.)  Gather International Support (possibly even a UN resolution) and preferably a Major Power Endorsement (US, Russia, China, and/or India), and buff up the military, and hit Al-Shabaab real hard (kind of hard to do, with F-5s and Pumas), and while the Kenyan army is well-regarded and brave, their lack of high-tech weaponry and combat-multiplier enhancement tools (to say nothing of the extensive training needed to properly use them) limit their ability to put firepower on targets quickly and effectively (as noticed in the operation to retake Westgate Mall).  [This is the option that I strongly suggest for the Kenyan government to take].


4.) There is one other option, I wasn’t going to include but I have decided to on the grounds that while I vehemently disagree with the mere suggestion of it, I realize that for some it is the only option they are willing to consider.  Kenya has the option to request from Al-Shabaab surrender terms.  While I have no idea what form the leaders of Al-Shabaab/Al-Qaeda would desire, I would assume installation of sharia law, mass conversion to some acceptable (to Al-Shabaab) form of Islam, and of course monetary compensation to Al-Shabaab (almost certainly the most desirable portion of any agreement).  [as I stated this in my opinion would be the least preferable option for the world community as a whole, the people of Kenya, and most especially for the people of Somalia].


While some of the more ignorant politicians insinuate or even flat-out state that the War on Terror is over, make no mistake, nothing could be further from the truth.  The free world, and the not-so-Free world are at war, with the largest threat to humanity ever.  This threat is smart, industrious, and agile, they will continue to change and morph, much like the creature in the science fiction thriller, The Thing, in order to achieve victory, which for them is the establishment of a world-wide caliphate, they will settle for nothing less.  For them it is a case of victory or death.


For More information on Al-Shabaab [Link]


{as a side note, for those supporters of gun control, I refer you to [link], so that you will take notice of the fact that both automatic and semi-automatic weapons are banned from private ownership in Kenya, this did absolutely nothing to stop the terrorists from acquiring the weapons needed to conduct their deadly deeds, although it did allow for them to attack innocent civilians with complete confidence that those civilians were unarmed}




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